Weekend Open Thread

So, Congress didn’t appropriate money for some Obamacare subsidies – naturally, Obama wasn’t going to allow that to stop him, so invoking the “because I wanna” clause of the Constitution, Obama provided the subsidies. Everything was cool until someone brought it before a judge who apparently glanced over the Constitution, only to discover that such a clause doesn’t exist. We’ve got to nip this right in the bud – before too long, we’ll have a bunch of Rule of Law nonsense going on, and then where will our Progressives be?

Hillary has it in the bag or Trump’s gonna win. Take your pick.

Rubio does best in FL Senate polling for November – but, there’s one small problem: he isn’t running. I suspect massive pressure will soon be on him to get into the race.

That terrorism thingy which Obama has completely solved? Iran is still a leading sponsor of terrorism. How is this possible? Rhodes told us that the Iranians were all moderately moderating!

Illegal immigration – it is a thing the rich and powerful like.

The murder rate is up – this part of our Fundamental Transformation?

Heroic Poem in Praise of Wine – Hilaire Belloc

To exalt, enthrone, establish and defend,
To welcome home mankind’s mysterious friend
Wine, true begetter of all arts that be;
Wine, privilege of the completely free;
Wine the recorder; wine the sagely strong;
Wine, bright avenger of sly-dealing wrong,
Awake, Ausonian Muse, and sing the vineyard song!

UPDATE: So, they want to use the polio virus to cure cancer? Does seem promising, but didn’t we see a movie about this?

I mean, nightlife will suck:

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22 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook May 13, 2016 / 8:28 am

    This sounds like a tremendous idea that I’ve never heard of before.

    Whether you’re a business owner or not, the massive regulatory burden unelected bureaucrats have saddled America’s movers and shakers with is costing you money. Luckily, a new coalition of business groups is preparing to fight back in a big way.

    The Rethink Red Tape campaign is a multi-million dollar regulatory reform campaign just launched by U.S. business groups like the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, International Franchise Association (IFA), and Women Impacting Public Policy.

    The organizations spearheading the effort say government regulators are making it impossible for their members’ businesses to stay afloat and remain competitive.

    • Amazona May 13, 2016 / 10:48 am

      This is great, and exactly what we need to rein in federal excess. No matter who ends up in the White House, he or she has to overcome a plethora of speed bumps if we are going to control the inclinations of either the Hildebeast or Donald J. Comacho.

      The TEA Party movement was a great idea, and it showed the power of the people. It turned the old Liberal mantra of “speaking truth to power” into a reality, just going in the wrong direction as far as the Left was concerned, and it shook things up. It was a little too brash and a little too inclined to make the same mistake the whole nation is making now in its naive conviction that an “outsider” is the way to solve problems created by “insiders”, but it scared the pants off those in power, and it is something we need to revive.

      A friend just bought a house. It should have been simple transaction: it had been his house but he sold it to his father and uncle. When his father died he and his uncle decided he would buy it back. The mortgage on the house is less than half its appraised value, He easily qualified, financially, as he has a decent income and no debt. It was excruciating. It took weeks to get everything in line to satisfy, not the bank but the government. His banker told him that they now have auditors in there, two of them, TWICE A WEEK to look over all their lending records. It’s a small community bank that has never had any problems with its management.

      Extrapolate that to the entire country. There is no way to really know the cost of this kind of iodicy, but it has to be immense, just from the administrative side alone. How many auditors are on the government payroll to spend hours two times a week to go over bank records? How much time is lost to the banking institution, having to work with the auditors? What is the cost to the consumer? It’s insane.

  2. Amazona May 13, 2016 / 11:00 am

    I had read the article you linked, on who favors illegal immigration, and I found that the “rich and powerful”—-that is, businesses who profit from lower wages, and people who want to hire support staff such as gardeners—-are only one of the groups mentioned.

    The “elites” in the article are the Mexican government, which is not only spared the economic impact of having millions of people in its borders it gets billions of American dollars sent into the country every year by illegals sending money home. We are subsidizing the morally and legally corrupt Mexican government more than we are subsidizing American businesses and our own “rich and powerful”.

    Another other group that benefits from illegal immigration is that of the race hustlers and Leftist race activists, who need this unending supply of poor, scared, isolated and vulnerable people to stir up into anger and resentment. This is the source of their wealth and power.

    And, of course, there is the Leftist agenda of using the illegal demographic to gain political power, and intending to expand it so they can use government largesse to buy even more votes.

    The big bad “corporations” are only a part of the problem, and also the most easily solved.

    • M. Noonan May 13, 2016 / 10:57 pm

      The main thing, for me, is that average folks are not exactly out in the streets demonstrating for open borders. A portion of the Democrat coalition wants it – but only a portion. If it were up to a vote, sealing the border would probably roll up north of 70% of the vote…and for all the ridicule sent Trump’s way, Mexico can be made to pay for the wall…a 10% tax on remittances to Mexico would do it; about $2.5 billion a year; that constructs a lot of wall.

      • Amazona May 14, 2016 / 9:26 am

        Well, in a roundabout way taxing remittances would provide us with some more of that yummy yummy tax revenue. Of course, we would be taxing the people who are working here and sending money home, not really “Mexico”.

        If we really want to stop illegal immigration, we could just prohibit remittances. Without being able to send money home, people would have to go home to work there to try to support those families. We could say that as of January 1, 2017, only funds certified in some way to be for something like medical emergencies can be sent to anyone outside the U.S., and that would be limited. I don’t know how or if this could be done, but I’ll bet it would result in a lot of that “self-deportation” Romney was ridiculed for. It might not be any more brutal than the idea that got so many people standing on their chairs and throwing their hats in the air—that of just rounding up all the illegals (somehow) and shipping them home (somewhere that we assume would accept them) (somehow) stripping them of their homes, furnishings, pets, whatever they have accumulated while here.

        The Russians had a “wall” back in the 50s, along its border with Finland. It was a tall fence with a wide no-man’s land on either side, rigged with pressure sensors, and it was patrolled by armed guards with dogs. I think our technical advances would make this a little easier and more effective. Seismic testing, used all over my part of the country to look for petroleum formations, would detect tunnels.

        But the fastest and easiest way to get started is to eliminate the “birdfeeder” system we have now—if you set up a bird feeder you get birds, and if you set up a system that rewards illegal immigration you get illegal immigration. But we look the other way when we see illegals, we have different laws for illegals, we give them lots and lots of money in the form of free medical care and free educations and food stamps and who knows what else, we let them send money back home—we have set up the biggest, most elaborate bird feeder in history, and now we complain that it is full.

        Don’t forget, the biggest prize of all in that bird feeder is citizenship, which we have accepted as a natural outcome of simply being born here, and which we hand out like Halloween candy.

      • Retired Spook May 14, 2016 / 10:31 am

        that of just rounding up all the illegals (somehow) and shipping them home (somewhere that we assume would accept them)

        And when that’s done, substitute the word “Liberals” for “illegals”, rinse and repeat.

      • Amazona May 14, 2016 / 12:41 pm

        Who would take those Liberals? Their spiritual and political homes, Russia and Cuba and Venezuela? Besides, we need Liberals, to illustrate the inevitable miseries attendant upon ignoring our heritage, dismissing our rule of law, and trying to run the nation on emotion-based Magical Thinking. Without Liberals, we might not have to take the time to think through the idiocy of the Big Rock Candy Mountain promises dangled in front of the foolish, the gullible, and/or the ignorant.

        No, my point was that the very policy Trump had back then, a policy which by the way he has since amended, revised, edited, audited, amended again, repudiated and generally unwound, was that HE would, somehow, round up millions of people, somehow, and ship them all, somehow, to some place someone had decided was their real country of origin, somehow, where the governments of those nations would welcome them, somehow, and allow them to stay. The screeching mobs jumping up and down in orgiastic ecstasy over this original “promise” seemed pretty happy with the specter of our military, unconstitutionally acting as a domestic police force, rounding up terrified people in scenes reminiscent of the herding of Jews onto cattle cars in the 40s in Germany, to ship them in undisclosed ways, somehow, to various countries where many of them no longer have a place to live, resulting in refugee camps in those nations which do agree to admit them. Maybe their left-behind pets would be rounded up and gassed, their furniture and personal possessions put out on the curb for whoever wanted to claim them, the houses they were buying going into foreclosure. We never heard that part of Trump’s plan, just that when it was implemented we would all be so happy.

        it was a beeeyouteefull picture, yuge in its scope, and it seemed to thrill millions all the way to the ballot box.

        But wait…it turns out these dispossessed people could turn right around and come back, just with papers. I suppose the same military police forces that loaded them up and shipped them out would have been guarding the left-behind homes and cars and feeding Fluffy till they returned?

        Because letting them stay here and apply for legal documentation, only deporting those who have broken laws other than immigration laws and those unwilling to work, skipping the whole Storm Trooper upheaval of lives just for the sake of the optics thing would be (cue ominous drumbeat….) AMNESTY. While the end result—legal documented residence in the United States for employed and productive people, permanent deportation of others—–would be the same, the Cruz approach was soooooo boring, compared to the drama of mass roundups and shipping-off of millions. Just doing something like this, with some kind of accompanying penalty for having broken the law that stops short of being stripped of everything they have acquired since they have been here and forcibly moved to other countries, just doesn’t have the emotional gratification of kicking them all out and starting over. Of course, it also doesn’t have the economic disruption, either, but then the main appeal of Trump is that he is The Disrupter.

        The man who hates bureaucracy would, of course, have had a plan for processing all those documents from all those people he had massed an extended bureaucracy to deport. Because the best businessman in the world, the one with the really good brain, would never have made a promise without having a plan to make it all happen. Would he? And people would never rally behind such a plan without asking all the right questions and understanding its complexities. Would they?

      • dbschmidt May 15, 2016 / 4:34 pm

        One thing I did my first time in college which captured my attention since was to put my income / outgo into what would be known as a spreadsheet today. If you are willing to feel really ill–you are welcome to follow. Simple form is what we call a budget with income and expenses. Then further defined but taxes, regulatory costs, etc. By regulatory costs or taxes I mean breaking out gasoline / diesel, Regulatory would be the additional cost of things like eggs, milk, cow farts, etc. When complete you will know what products really cost including “hidden” fees are which is why I am dead set against any type of VAT tax.

        If “average” people did this they would be in the streets demanding that government do it’s proper job and not rip everyone off for their largeness.

        There are many problems but government, in general, should be at the top of the list. I feel that if I made a handshake deal with Mark, Amazona or Spook–it would be kept and on the level. I cannot say that about our government or my attorney for that matter.

      • dbschmidt May 15, 2016 / 4:38 pm

        BTW, Spook, this Country has shut down all immigration to allow the immigrants to adapt to our culture sometime between 1944 and 1960’s, IIRC. In addition, the government has swept and deported well over 10 millions illegals in the past. Not saying it is the correct response but it is one that is available.

      • Amazona May 15, 2016 / 10:11 pm

        Yeah, but were those deportations all at the same time or within a small time frame, such as a year or even two years?

      • Amazona May 16, 2016 / 6:41 pm

        DB, I am also against any kind of a VAT tax, unless it is written to absolutely, with no possibility of change, designed to completely replace the income tax.

        I like a consumption tax because it puts the control over our taxation right where it belongs—in our hands. If you want to go without a lot of consumer goods to save money, it’s your choice. If you like new stuff, you pay the tax on it—your choice. It makes taxpayers out of many of our consumers who now pay no tax at all, because their income is not declared. You know, people like drug dealers and prostitutes and people in any line of business that is cash-based, including “undocumented” people. They may not declare their incomes and pay taxes, but they do buy stuff.

        The plans I have seen exempt food and medicine and used goods, but do tax services. There is also a rebate kind of system for the truly poor. I think a system like this would raise the value of things like cars, as a good used car would be more valuable because its value would not be subject to taxation, so over time I think the economy would not only stabilize but start to be less focused on just throwing away things instead of taking care of them and making them last.

        You also have to factor in what we would save on the collection side. Retail businesses already collect sales taxes, and a VAT would be a point-of-transaction tax. Service businesses would have to adapt, people like mechanics and plumbers, but that is no big deal.

  3. Retired Spook May 15, 2016 / 11:40 am

    It appears there’s a flurry of activity on several fronts to find a viable third party candidate. The cheapest and easiest solution would be for all the states to allow “none of the above” on the ballot — no funding or ballot signature problem and no disagreement on the issues. And I’ll bet in a lot of states, “none of the above” would get a plurality, maybe even a majority of the vote. That would send the strongest message possible that the majority of Americans are FED UP!

    • Amazona May 15, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      I tend to agree with Ryan that the choice should be someone who was in the original pack of contenders. I admit that tactically Kasich would be a good choice but I can’t stand him, don’t trust him, and find his maneuvering so far to be despicable. I would hate to reward him for it.

      I would like to see something like a Walker/Martinez ticket. It covers a lot of the bases—successful Midwestern governor who has withstood the worst the Left could find to hurl at him, who has a solid record of conservatism, working with the opposition in his state, and accomplishment, and a successful Western governor (of a Dem state) who is a woman, who is Hispanic, and who has done a good job.

      Sasse is great but I don’t think we need an inexperienced person, no matter how smart he is.

      I like the “none of the above” rule for the first ballot. It would clear the table.

    • dbschmidt May 15, 2016 / 4:42 pm

      Third party defeats the two-party system set up by the founders. Makes me think of Ross Perot. Big Ears. Loser evil, evil big ears.. Republicans and those like I , Libertarian, will rejoin when the establishment goes to the wayside and the new “Whigs” show leadership.

      • Amazona May 15, 2016 / 10:09 pm

        Not arguing with your statement that the Founders set up a two party system, but can you show me where they did this? Was it a plan, or were there just two parties at the time? The closest I can get is the rule that the president is the one who has the majority of the electoral votes, but even then there is a fallback plan in case the votes are divided more than two ways.

        I’m still trying to work out this whole “establishment” thing—is it a cabal of specific people or is it more like those schools of sardines you see in an aquarium, in which all the fish seem to have one mind and turn at the same time? Are the bosses really dedicated to a plan or are they just getting their backs up and being oppositional because they don’t like being challenged? Because I am talking about a shift in thinking, and it seems to me that most of you guys are talking about a shift in personnel, but with no clear idea if you want to replace two people or ten or fifty.

      • Amazona May 15, 2016 / 10:14 pm

        Besides, my argument is that I want the GOP to nominate someone else but Trump, so if there is a third party he will have to be the one putting it together and funding it and getting it up and running. He is so proud of being the Great Disrupter, let’s not take that away from him.

      • Amazona May 15, 2016 / 10:20 pm

        An interesting article, and for once the emphasis is not mine.

        ”An article last week in Politico described Curly Haugland as a “rule-mongering crank,” a “gadfly,” “stubborn” (twice), a “pain in the ass,” and a “pedantic curmudgeon.”

        And that was merely in the first paragraph!

        Who is this Curly fellow, you ask? He’s the ultimate authority in the Republican Party, one of the delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July.

        Back in Bismarck, North Dakota, Haugland built and runs a successful small business. The Politico piece presented him as a “pool supply magnate.” With a broad smile, he’ll tell you that he’s literally sold swimming pools to Eskimos.

        Hard-working and successful, Curly believes in the free-enterprise system and despises crony capitalism. And he also wants to give back, to make certain he leaves the country better off, more free and full of opportunity, than he found it. That’s why Haugland got involved in the GOP to begin with, and why he now serves on the Republican National Committee, and even more importantly, as a no-nonsense member of the party’s Rules Committee.

        Long before Trump was an issue in the party (or even actually “in” the party), Mr. Haugland was urging Republican leaders to do something anathema to the Washington-insider-types: Follow the rules.

        “The rule says, specifically,” Curly told CNBC hosts back in March, “that it’s a vote of the delegates at the convention to determine if there’s a majority, not a primary vote. . . . The media has (sic) created a perception that the voters will decide the nomination. Political parties choose their nominee, not the general public.”

        Now, before burning Curly in effigy — or otherwise — for not being “democratic enough,” remember that the entire electorate does indeed get to choose the president, though on a state by state basis, through the Electoral College. What is at issue here is who chooses the nominee of the Republican Party.

        Is it primary voters, as the media has been saying, with RNC Chair Reince Priebus nodding along, or the delegates, as Curly Haugland contends?

        Historically, Republican Party delegates have been free to vote their conscience, from just prior to the Civil War, when Lincoln gained the nomination at a contested 1860 convention, until today. It’s been a rule. The only exception was in 1976, when President Ford’s campaign worked to change the rule, binding delegates to block Ronald Reagan’s insurgent candidacy. Coincidentally, the leader of that ’76 effort was Paul Manafort, who today is running Trump’s convention effort.

        Haugland’s point is clear: delegates in Cleveland are by rule unbound. And not just on the second or third ballot, but on the very first ballot.

        http://townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/2016/05/15/whose-party-is-it-anyway

        Think about it. This man is not the only one to keep reminding us of this though he is drowned out by the screeching media who don’t want us to know this, and if we do find out about it they want us to ignore it.

        “The rule says, specifically,” Curly told CNBC hosts back in March, “that it’s a vote of the delegates at the convention to determine if there’s a majority, not a primary vote. . . . The media has (sic) created a perception that the voters will decide the nomination. Political parties choose their nominee, not the general public.

        Now, before burning Curly in effigy — or otherwise — for not being “democratic enough,” remember that the entire electorate does indeed get to choose the president, though on a state by state basis, through the Electoral College. What is at issue here is who chooses the nominee of the Republican Party.

      • M. Noonan May 16, 2016 / 12:09 am

        He’s quite right – but thanks to us falling for Progressive nonsense, we have primaries, which give the appearance that it is straight up voting which decides the nominee. Trump, masterful at painting a picture (even if it is simplistic to the point of being flat wrong) played upon this perception against Cruz’ efforts to round up delegates who would be able to vote for him in a contested Convention – I think that Trump playing it that way was why he did so well after Wisconsin – and well enough to de-facto sink Cruz’ chances in Indiana. In politics, perception is most of the game…and Trump knows how to build a perception.

        On the other side of it, Hillary doesn’t have a clue how to do it. Yesterday we have the Democrat and Republican State conventions – the GOP side was pretty much anti-climax, with my only real disappointment being that a Facebook friend was not elected as one of Nevada’s Electors, proving that the NV GOP is monumentally stupid. That aside, the Democrats had a mess – Hillary won it, of course – and in an odd bit of work, she did it by strictly adhering to the rules, perhaps for the first time in her life. Seems that Democrat rules here are that to participate in the NV Dem Convention, you must have been a registered Democrat no later than April 1st, or some such…64 of Bernies Delegates could not prove this about themselves, and so weren’t allowed to vote. Now, Democrats out here had been touting the massive increase in Democrat voter registration over the past few months…but my bet is that most of these new registrants came in for Bernie…and now they’ve just been told that their effort was a waste of time. I do wonder how many of them will show up for Hillary in November…and how many of them Trump will scoop up?

        Now, Hillary supporters are pleased as punch about how it came out – but when I mildly pointed out on Twitter that they could tread carefully as they’ll need Bernie votes in November, I got hammered as a fool, an idiot, a cretin, etc, etc, etc. Nothing new for me in being insulted by liberals…but what was new was the complete lack of understanding of basic political realities. Hillary will not roll up the vote totals of Obama – she needs every vote she can get, and her people are deliberately (and with joy in their hearts) reading Bernie supporters right out of the coalition. To be sure, some Trumpsters are doing that for GOPers who don’t like Trump…but in all the time I’ve watched this stuff on social media, I’ve never seen more spite and hate among people…and this includes a lot of interactions with Trumpters, who seem to make spite and hate a part of their routine.

        You and I have already discussed some prospects of changing the way nominees are selected – but however it is done, it must be a process that everyone perceives as fair. Right now, Trump is winning the “fairness” battle (even if he’s winning it with a large wink and a nod) – and I do believe this will carry over into November.

      • Amazona May 16, 2016 / 2:17 am

        I think Trump has gotten away with his lies and smears because the media have wanted him to. I think it possible, not a guarantee but possible, that the GOP could carry off a nomination of someone other than Trump by saying that the GOP owed him a great debt of gratitude for the courage he has shown in blasting through political correctness, blah blah blah, but after lots of flattery say that however he has also run on policies that are not consistent with the party, naming some of them, such as single payer health care and dropping out of NATO, or whatever else he has said that could be used as examples.

        Then a major campaign from all Republicans talking about how Trump totally misrepresented the rules of the nomination process, and explaining them, would smooth some ruffled feathers. No, I don’t think Trump would run as a third party candidate. He likes his money too much to throw a few more billion at a lost cause, and I am convinced it would be a lost cause, for the reasons I have given. Yes, some Trump diehards would probably just not vote, but that is a risk we might just have to take. It might be balanced by the same phenomenon on the other ticket, if Sanders supporters stay home to protest his losing the nomination to Hillary, and without the scary specter of Trump forcing a lot of Dems to vote for Hillary just to block him, I’m guessing (and it IS just a guess) the numbers of non-voters would be larger on the Dem side.

        After it is all over, both parties are going to have a lot of splainin’ to do, regarding the illusion that people are voting for the nominee, and I’m sure some changes will have to be made.

        As for not being able to vote in the primary if you are a very recent newcomer to the party, I think that is a very good idea. The real problem is that the primaries are not really VOTES but really just detailed polls. I think it should be expanded to saying you can’t vote at all in the general election if you have not been registered for at least a month (preferably longer) unless you can prove that you only reached voting age closer to the election. If people want to participate in the process it is up to them to understand the process.

        As for hearing about all these Dem voters allegedly coming over to vote for Trump, there is no way to verify that, other than exit polls in some open primaries showing some Dem voters, but I suggest they were voting for Trump because they wanted a weak Republican opponent more than voting for him because they truly support him. I just don’t see how anyone with his abysmal numbers with women from all parties, and his horrible ranking with Hispanics and blacks, translates into lots of Dem votes.

      • Amazona May 16, 2016 / 2:26 am

        Basically, Trump has boxed himself in: If he doesn’t even understand the nomination process he is clearly not qualified to be president, which is a lot more demanding and complex than merely reading up on how the party makes its nominations. If he can’t hire people smart enough to do this and brief him on it, what makes us think his “advisers” in really important areas like national defense and international relations are going to be any better?

        And if he is smart enough to understand the process (which Cruz has proved he has understood from the beginning) then he has been purposely trying to mislead people by telling them the process is something other than what it is..

        And that is Trump in a nutshell—an idiot or a liar.

    • M. Noonan May 16, 2016 / 12:13 am

      We do have “none of these candidates” on the NV ballot – but our leaders, being politicians, made it meaningless…if 90% of the voters mark “none”, then whoever gets the most of the 10% who marked a name wins. To me, a nation-wide effort to get “none” as an option and if a majority vote “none” then no one wins would be great…provided that the special election to make up for it specifically bars those who were already voted on.

      • Amazona May 16, 2016 / 2:03 am

        I took the “none of the above” to be about delegate votes, not general election populace votes. In the former case, this would result in a second ballot or maybe more. In the latter case, I don’t think it would accomplish anything.

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